Not just because I loved Mel's comedy work, his perfect timing and his legendarily deadpan facial expressions. Not just because his work alongside the equally wonderful Griff Rhys Jones struck me as damn near perfect. Not just because of his skills with satire and impeccable timing. Not just because of his talents as a writer and director as well as a comedian.
The passing of Mel Smith hit home because he came across as someone it was very easy to know. I cannot remember anyone having a cross word to say about Mel. His off-screen life was never at the forefront of the public consciousness, and that is to be commended. He will be remembered for the things that people love so dearly from throughout his career, from the things that everybody remembers (Not The Nine O' Clock News, Smith & Jones, Bean etc), to the things people of a certain age remember (Wilt) and things that only obsessive obscure film geeks like me remember (Morons From Outer Space), and that's how it should be.
My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. A genuinely saddening, shocking loss. The world is less rich now. As a viewer, a fan and an admirer from afar - not to mention a fellow bloke who went bald far too early - all I can say is “Thank you, Mel.”
Here is a favourite moment of mine from his lengthy and varied career. The interplay between him and Mr. Jones was sublime.